San Diego

Woman Stuck With Bill After Errant Golf Ball Hits Windshield

The city said it has raised fence heights, re-oriented tee boxes, and realigned fairways to try to stop bad shots.

Along Pershing Drive is where golf balls can come flying without notice at any moment from the Balboa Park 18-hole golf course. Although you should know the city isn't likely to pay for any of the damages as one San Diego resident learned that the hard way.

Wendy Moldow's brand new Toyota Rav4 was hit by one of those flying golf balls but said at first; she thought it was gunfire.

"So, we looked for the first place we could pull over to call the police because we figured if it was a bullet, it would've gone through the window, but maybe it was a BB gun or somebody was throwing rocks," said Moldow. "It just shattered the window."

After realizing it was a golf ball from the course, Moldow drove her car to the clubhouse to alert the staff. There the crew took a report and was told to file a claim with the city's Risk Management Department.

"Everyone seemed to think they were going to take care of this," said Moldow.

That was until a few days ago when she received a letter explaining the city isn't liable.

"I didn't ask them for anything other than the $1,500 for the windshield, had the receipts, had the charge card payment and yet denied," explained Moldow.

There's no telling how many golf balls have hit drivers near the Balboa Park course, but an NBC 7 investigates public records request sheds some insight.

Records show that 39 people filed claims between January 2017 and May 2019. The majority of the cases involve cars driving along Pershing Dr.

A city spokesperson said in most cases they determine it's the golfer's responsibility saying they should report wayward shots to course officials.

"It's basically the same as if you hit another car with yours and no one sees you. The right thing to do is leave a note," a city spokesperson told NBC 7.

But Moldow said the city could do more especially after employees led her to believe she'd get help.

"They probably could've found out which golfers it was, if they weren't going to claim liability then it becomes a liability of the golfer, why didn't they bother to check that out, instead 'too bad - wrong place at the wrong time,'" said Moldow.

The city said it has raised fence heights, re-oriented tee boxes, and realigned fairways to try to stop bad shots.

The city also says many golfers do take responsibility and notify staff when they know they have damaged property.

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